$20 Shelves Anyone Can Build!

That’s right… ANYONE!  These are super simple to build!  This is by far my favorite $20 project to date.

I have been in the process of redoing my oldest son’s room over the last few weeks.  I shared his bed HERE and the headboard HERE.

I know one of the next things on my to do list will be a desk, and I knew I wanted some shelving for above it.  I found THIS plan on Ana’s site and jumped on it.

If you own a drill (every woman should!) you can build these shelves.  I made 2 for my son, and I also made 2 for my younger sister.  Each shelf cost $10 to build.  Here are a few tips and progress shots…

You will need 2 – 1×4’s and 1 – 1×2 for each shelf.  That’s it!

I made 8′ shelves so no need to use a saw.  I also used my Kreg Jig, but if you don’t own one you can just pre-drill your holes and use wood screws to attach everything. I prefer drywall screws, but both will work.  You will also need wood glue.  I started by adding a line of glue where my 1×4’s meet.

Join your boards together like this.  Just pre-drill from the back and attach your screws.

Now add some more glue to edge of your bottom 1×4…

And use some finish nails to attach your 1×2!

That’s it! Not even kidding!

I didn’t even worry about filling nail holes because I stained mine and I like the imperfections… So shanty! 😉

I used my new favorite stain on mine…

Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain in Dark Walnut

I  LOVE this stuff… It dries beautifully within an hour… Whoop!  You can get it at Lowe’s.

These are super easy to attach to your wall too!  I used 2″ drywall screws directly into the studs of the wall.  I didn’t even have to cover the screws because the things I put on the shelves covered them easily.

I got them up and took some pictures for you!

And if you aren’t quite convinced please look at this picture…

Yes.  Looks familiar! You can find this lovely at Pottery Barn, except it costs $85 for 4′! That’s half the length and 8 times the price.  No thank you!

What do you think???

You OFFICIALLY have no excuse to not build!  These are easier than putting together anything you can find in a store.  I LOVE them.

You can see the detailed plans HERE on Ana’s site!


Did you like it???  Would you be a dear and PIN IT please?!?  I would appreciate it greatly 😉

Thanks so much and happy Tuesday!


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  • Nicole C

    I just stumbled back upon your site after seeing something on Pinterest. We used this tutorial to make picture ledges for our den a few years ago. We painted them white to blend with the wall and then used black frames. This isn’t the best picture, but proof that they turned out 🙂

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  • Jasmine Bryant

    Hello, what is the name of the paint color on the wall where you hung the shelves?

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  • Divergent Droid

    I want to make many of these with larger boards to make a series of tracks around the house for my cat to run on. Shelving gets expensive, this looks like the cheapest deal for my project.

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    I still don’t understand how to hang them… 🙁

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  • Bev

    How did you mount these to the wall?

  • Jessie

    Loved this project! Easy and looks fabulous in the entry way of my new home!

    • Taylor Khoe-Mupas

      How did you mount this to the wall?

  • Emilee

    I used the exact same stain color from Lowe’s and mine turned out a completely different color. Way more chocolatey.

  • Emilee

    How did you stain it to get this color?

  • Emilee

    And I was really going for the color yours are

  • Emilee

    How did you stain the wood to get this color? I bought the same stain from Lowe’s but mine turned out way more chocolate in color

  • Tonya Harris

    Will this work on plaster walls?

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  • April

    I’m totally New to this.. how did you mount these?

  • Cynthia Toupin

    Did you use a Kreg Jig like Ana did or did you just screw and glue? If we were to see the back of the shelf, we would see the screws right? I am a total beginner without a Kreg Jig and just trying to figure out if I have the steps correct. Also – I would LOVE to know how you mounted these to the wall. I am just not visualizing very well how to get these onto the wall. Thanks much!!

  • Sheri Kinnison

    a friend made these for me i cant take credit but i love them!!

  • Lovely idea – very good tutorial 🙂

  • christy

    are these the shelves that you used to display your chippy picture frames??

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  • Randi

    Are the jig holes meant for the drywall screws to attach to the walls? Or just to attach the back side 1×4?

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  • Lori Mills-Smith

    Could you use 1×6’s instead of 1×4’s?

  • Hi! COMPLETE beginner here, so I have a couple reeeally basic questions.

    Are the pieces of wood held together only by glue, or did you also screw/nail them together? If so, can you describe exactly what you did?

    Next– how did you mount them to the wall? It’s not covered in the pictures and, again, I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m sure it’s a really basic thing that I’m just not aware of.

    Thank you!

  • Mark Collier

    Made a couple of these, one is 48″. It was glued and nailed, and is going to be painted. The other is 41″. It was glued, screwed and plugged, and is going to be stained.

    Thanks for sharing. Planning on making more.

  • jmg

    What are the kreg settings and what size screws to use please? Thank you

  • astridtonnesen

    Recently I was really, really low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money.. on the internet. I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – ajfz

  • Wow! I want to put shelves in my bathroom and this is perfect. So glad I found your blog!

  • Kathy Alston Miller

    Please tell us how you hung the shelves. 🙂

  • Arlene

    Hi! What size finish nails did you use to attach the 1×2? Thanks so much!

  • Shelli O’Connell

    He say at the top how to attach to wall – These are super easy to attach to your wall too! I used 2″ drywall screws directly into the studs of the wall. I didn’t even have to cover the screws because the things I put on the shelves covered them easily.

  • Deidre Miles

    I just finished painting mine and I am thrilled with how it looks! I dusted off my Kreg Jig box that had never been opened. After watching your tutorial on how to use it I felt more confident. And for Mother’s Day I bought myself the cordless nailer you recommended, so I had the perfect tools and no more excuses. I am now ready to build all kinds of things!!! I am so proud of myself. Can’t wait to hang it up tomorrow! Thanks so much!

  • chasinginspiration

    How do you hang the shelves?

  • Stephanie

    If I predrill to connect my 1×4’s Do I predrill through both pieces of wood or just the outer one (back piece)?

    • Both! 🙂

      • Stephanie

        Great!! Thanks so much! 🙂

  • Thank you a whole bunch! I have been wanting these shelves and don’t want to spend the huge amount of money they want at the stores and on line to buy them! Literally, $300 for the hall I want to fill with just four 8-foot shelves. This looks like a really easy tutorial to follow and it is something I think I can do myself. I can see my daughter enlisting my help once mine are up – so thank you in advance on her behalf! You rock!

  • theglad felders

    Thank you so much! I absoloutly love these in my little boy’s room. Where did you get your plane sketches that you put on your son’e shelf. I have been looking for something like that forever and refuse to buy the $200 from pottery barn :/

  • Natalie Diaz

    Ive been wanting shelves for a while and this is a great idea that doesn’t spend a lot of money on them! (which explains why i haven’t gotten any shelves yet lol)

  • Thank you!! We made these this weekend and they look amazing!!!! I’m hanging them over my tub in the master bath. I think they might look better than Pottery barn only because of the rougher finish!! Did I say Thannk you!!!?? Now Im deciding where else I might use these–maybe a series of them in a hallway for a gallery look with picture frames!? –can’t wait!
    love–thanks again for sharing and saving me some moola!!

  • Nancy

    Just what I’ve been looking for!! I’m going to build for my craft room, love your taste that’s the exact color stain I’ll use already did my desk and then crates to stack for bookcase and other junk… thanks bunches

  • How did you mount them to the wall? Could I just screw directly into my walls where I find studs? Do I need to pre-drill holes? I am not that handy and neither is my husband. We have limited tools. Could we just screw them directly into the walls?

    • Betty819

      Jennifer..did you know that you can rent tools? Or borrow from a relative or neighbor? Buy one power tool at a time or when yours or your husband’s birthdays come around or Christmas, ask for a power tool. I don’t know what the cost of renting tools would be but why not ask a relative or friend that owns or knows how to use the power tools work with you and hubby and show you how to use them? My DH has so many power tools and he can’t physically use them now but I’ve worked along side of him enough in 50 years that I wouldn’t be afraid to try to use them, but I’d still want him to show me how and be there when I first start using them to show me the proper way to use them and the safety issues. Good Luck! You can do this, you can!

  • christiane

    I am very new to this and have a question. I had my wood cut at Lowe’s as I do not have a saw and all the ends and edges are really frayed. Is there any way to avoid that and would they be less frayed if I tried cutting the pieces myself?

    • Betty819

      I never thought about asking Lowe’s or Home Depot to cut lumber to size you need. I knew they did because we’ve had them to cut MDF or plywood for us before but only one or two cuts. I think they cut a certain number free, then they charge for anything over that. Best to ask before hand. I think I would do that with this project, because we don’t have a truck anymore and I would need to be able to fit the boards in my car.

    • Betty819

      Buy some sandpaper and a sand paper block or wrap the sandpaper around a block of wood and sand those “fray edges” or if you know somebody that owns an electric sander, ask them if they can sand it smooth for you. Ask them to let you see how it is done and you’ll learn from that. Price out some power tools..Craftsman tools from Sears have always been good, Ryobi is good as is Black and Decker. We had a Black and Decker power drill to burn up on us when we were drilling pressure treated lumber on time and it was only a few months old, called the 800# and sent a letter, and in a week they shipped us a brand new drill.

  • Huong Pham

    Thanks for the instructions. I’ve just made one for my son’s room.
    Please visit my blog to have a look at the pictures 😉

  • Tiff

    Working on these this weekend for our home library for books. So far it’s been a breeze and can’t wait to see the finished product. Did you use a polyurethane finish or a seal after the stain or just the stain?

  • This is a great idea! I wanted to do EXACTLY this in my hallway above my newly re-painted hall cabinet and for some reason could not conceptualize it. Thanks for the idea!! Running to Lowe’s right now 😉 Oh, and I bought the “dark walnut” stain a while back to build the “FAMILY” sign you designed, so I have a ton left over! I have so many ideas to use it for now! I even build some “pallet” type boxes to use as drawers in my hall cabinet- 16″ wide by 22″ deep, and used the dark walnut stain. I am attaching a picture of the progress… your blog inspired me! The cabinet used to be a light maple color- I painted and antiqued it and swapped out the middle cabinet for the pallet type drawers. Loving it now!

  • Guest

    This is a great idea! I wanted to do EXACTLY this in my hallway above my newly re-painted hall cabinet and for some reason could not conceptualize it. Thanks for the idea!! Running to Lowe’s right now 😉 Oh, and I bought the “dark walnut” stain a while back to build the “FAMILY” sign you designed, so I have a ton left over! I have so many ideas to use it for now! I even build some “pallet” type boxes to use a drawers in my hall cabinet- 16″ wide by 22″ deep. I am attaching a picture of the progress… your blog inspired me! The cabinet used to be a light maple color- I painted and antiqued it and swapped out the middle cabinet for the pallet type drawers. Loving it now!

  • Olivia

    your projects are so inspiring. i actually have been looking for something simple and stylish such as this for a shelf im building above the inside of my shower. something to store my shower bottles yet using what little space i have to work with. im over pre made wire caddys and really wanted to get creative. my only concern is it holding up to shower steam and what wood would be appropriate for water.

    • Honestly, I don’t know the best wood for that! It’s a great idea! If it were me, I would just go with the pine and know you may have to replace it in a year or 2. Just my call 😉 Good luck!!

  • Kari

    When I saw this post I was THRILLED. I have been looking at Pottery Barn shelves for the past month wanting to buy 4 of the 3′ Holman shelves for a total of $150. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. $150!!! Happily my story ends with me finding your site, follow your instructions, and building my shelves for a total of $35! Thank you SO very much for sharing!!
    *My husband also wanted me to make sure I sent his thanks as well seeing how you saved him so much money…LOL!

  • Jana Hikichi

    Love these! I’m gonna make these for my son this summer. Did you use pine?

  • liz

    I was wondering, what do you use to sand down the boards? and at what step do you sand? After putting it together?


    • Hi Liz,

      I usually just use a little hand sanding block with a 120 grit sand paper. I sand the corners and ends of the boards quickly before attaching everything. Hope this helps!!

  • Natalie

    Making these today !!! Love this !!

  • These are awesome! Just the thing I need for my latest project, our multi-task room. How did you attach to the wall. With hangers it more securely attached to the wall?

  • Lisa

    yes inquiring minds want to know where the awesome plane prints came from! 🙂

    • Shanty2Chic

      Those were a gift from a friend who was actually going to throw them away! Crazy! Wish I could share where he got them but I don’t know… Sorry! 😉

      • Mary

        darn! I was going to ask too! My husband is an air force pilot!

        • Boo! I get lots of questions on them! Wish I could tell you how to DIY them ;-)!!

  • Jan

    This is exactly what I am going to put in my breakfast area. I have been looking for the perfect, but EASY DIY shelving….THIS IS IT!!! I found you from Tator Tots and Jello….Happy Dance 🙂 Hugs, Jan

  • Kel

    I featured you today for my Pinterest Thursday post. http://instantmommie.blogspot.com/

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  • This is such a great idea! So cute! We would love to have you come share this at our weekly link party every Saturday! -The Sisters


  • Danielle M

    Just made some today, very easy! Thanks for the great idea!

  • I love them! I’m going to try it. How did you attach them to the wall? I have plaster walls so I’d probably have to use sink hooks, but just wondering….

  • Wow! that is super easy to make! thanks for sharing this tip!



  • BEAUTIFUL! Love them and love they’re so easy .. question being that you just used glue do you have any idea of how much weight they could bare?

    Pinned these too! 🙂

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  • You’re right, these shelves do look so simple! I love them! Thanks for sharing the great tips!

  • I just made these and saved so much money thanks to you!! your advise was amazing and helped me so much!!

  • Megan

    How did you hang them on the wall? Did you just screw it directly to the drywall, or did you find studs? I’d like to do this project soon! Yours look great, I love the stain as well.

  • Oh wow, I was just telling my husband that I needed something like this in my son’s room! I love Anna’s projects, thank you so much for bringing this one to my attention. I love your blog!

  • Erin

    I’d love to know more about the things that look like clip boards. Is that a bulldog clip on a piece of scrap wood?

    • Shanty2Chic

      This is my next project post Erin 😉

  • Kelley

    Love these shelves. How did you attach them to the wall?

  • Such a great idea and so easy! Thanks for sharing this. And the stain looks amazing.

  • Farrah

    I just love, love your blog!!! I actually stalk your blog everyday for cute ideas! lol ;). I was just wondering how you hung the shelves with?? Sorry for such a silly quesion but I am beginner. Thanks!

  • Jenny

    Love it!! And yes, care to share where you got your plane prints?

  • Jae M

    Too simple/ nice not to try myself!!! Great project!

  • LOVE!!! Thanks so much for sharing! Now I just have to come up with a spot!!

  • Jenny

    Pinned! They look ten times better than the Pottery Barn ones!! Nice work 🙂

  • LOVE those shelves and love that stain you’ve been using!!! (= Might have to try this!!!

  • nancy

    Pinned it! Thanks for this easy tut!

  • I’m a new follower!!! Your blog is so interesting. I’m so excited to keep reading! These wall shelves are too cute and so easy to make….oh and cheap!. Love blogs that inspire.



  • Looks great! Will definitely be putting some of these above my desk (which I will also build from Ana’s site)!

  • Kristi

    Love this idea and I can’t wait to try it! One question though, where in the world did you find those amazing plane pictures?!?!

    • Erin

      I agree, Kristi!!

  • Julie

    I know this is about the awesome shelves, but I really LOVE paint colors on the wall. Do you have the name of the colors? They would love fabulous in my boys’ room! Thank you!

    • Shanty2Chic

      Julie… That is one of my next posts 😉

  • LOVE THEM! We were thinking about putting a few above our desk. Now I have no excuse not to.

  • Andrea

    Pinned! Love these.

  • Lane

    already pinned it!! I need some shelves above a dresser/changing table and I was going to go out and by some!! Now I can make them any color I want and for such a great price!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Very cute, I am in love. Very easy tutorial too, I’m sure I can pull this one off myself!